25 January 2013

Nigeria/South Africa: Erico Explains Spate of Afcon First Round Drawn Games

Former Super Eagles assistant coach Joe Erico has explained as normal the number of games drawn in the opening group games of the tournament just as he also said it is no strange occurrence in narrow score wins recoded by some teams at this stage.

He posited that first matches in competitions of this magnitude are usually very difficult because no coach wants to lose his first game.

"Caution is the word because teams want to see what the opponent have in their arsenal as in strengths and weaknesses before they come out in subsequent games.

You also want to reserve some energy because there is a time frame to play, you can make the final for those with ability to go far," he said.

Erico, who spoke to our correspondent in Lagos, however, predicts "that teams will definitely get to grips with the excitement and thrills of the tournament as were cases in previous editions.

Two opening day games ended in barren draws, then followed by a win and score draw on day two.

By the same token, the former Green Eagles goalkeeper, expressed no shock that this Nations Cup has yet to produce a giant killer team like Zambia did in the last edition, breaking all records to take home the trophy despite the presence of favourites and finalist Ivory coast and Ghana.

"It's still early for that to begin to happen. By the time the first round of matches pass, you will see that injuries would set into teams, there will be fatigue and disciplinary records will cut out certain set of players from teams, it's then the coaches will rearrange plans from the original brought to the competition.

These factors too shall determine if we are going to see new stars and a team or teams with the giant-killing instinct in the competition.

For instance the likes of Ethiopia and Cape Verde may be on the way up depending on the doggedness, determination and resilience they produce along the line," he said.

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